“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery,” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a Russian novelist, once said. And so, this is how millions of people feel and behave every single day.
It’s hard to speak our truth or to reveal our true feelings to someone, especially when we have an unnerving fear that we may upset them. But by learning tools which can assist us in overcoming this fear and using our powerful voice in such a way that we are truly heard; we will be able to embrace who we really are.
Being our true, authentic self is the bravest, most empowering and self-respecting way in which to live. And when we finally start taking steps to being the person we are meant to be, we’ll begin to feel burdens weigh off our shoulder so that we can finally be free.
Why Do We Feel Afraid to Speak Our Truth?
There are a number of different reasons as to why we sometimes feel afraid to speak our truth. Perhaps we were told off or punished for ‘speaking up’ from our parents growing up, or we are scared that if we reveal our true feelings we will ‘rock the boat’. We may not want to cause unnecessary conflict, or maybe we keep our emotions inside because we fear being judged or ridiculed for them.
Whichever the reason, it’s important to realize that It is not up to us to control how others feel, and that we deserve to be heard and to feel important. We are all worthy of having our voice heard, and for our ideas and needs to be taken seriously. It’s vital that we learn to not feel responsible for the way that others feel or react because we have the right to our own feelings and emotions.
At the same time however, it’s important to have a healthy balance whilst speaking our truth. For some, finding their voice may lead to becoming overly-dominant and authoritative which could then lead to a lack of empathy and even destroying close relationships.
Today, we’re going to look at different ways that we can achieve this healthy balance and begin to live a more authentic and powerful life. But first, what are some of the ways that we hide our true selves from others?
Ways in Which We Hide Our True Selves from Others
Mask Feelings of Guilt
Sometimes, we are so compassionate and selfless that we care more about the wellbeing of others than ourselves. We don’t want to disappoint the people that we love by telling them things that we feel may upset them. In this way, we lose a sense of our self-worth. And while revealing ourselves is a difficult thing that may lead others to feel uncomfortable, offended, or perhaps even sad, it is so important that we do not let fear and guilt prevent us from being open and honest.
Always Available & Unable to Say ‘No’
We may be the person that people turn to for all of their needs. And in an attempt to ‘keep the peace’ we end up taking on more than we can handle. This could be in a relationship, in a friendship, with family members, or even at work.
It’s the ‘Right’ Thing to Do
Perhaps we were taught to always be nice and polite, which may translate to being taken advantage of, or putting our feelings aside to assist and please others.
We Want to Avoid Conflict
Oftentimes we go above and beyond to avoid conflict, even if it is at the expense of our own wellbeing. It may feel easier to just agree with someone as opposed to getting into a discussion or form of conflict with them.
We Feel ‘Less Than’
If we have a low self-esteem or feel that our ideas, feelings, and emotions are not important, we often put ourselves on the back burner. Maybe we don’t feel valued or worthy of having our voice heard.
We Have a Critical Internal Monologue
At times, we are our own worst enemy, and our inner voice takes over by telling us that we’re not good enough or we’re not deserving of good things. This leads to judging ourselves critically, and believing we are not important.
We Feel Like a Burden
It’s common to hear people say ‘sorry’ after asking for a favor or simply reaching out to someone. We may feel as though our mere presence or inquiry is a burden to them, and so we feel apologetic when we open our mouths.
How Can We Start Living and Revealing Our Truth Today?
Having said all of this, the one million dollar question is: How can we be ourselves while keeping emotionally-safe in our important relationships? Before we speak our truth, ask:
- Is it the right time? Timing is everything. Confronting or hoping for a heart-to-heart discussion with someone whilst they’re in the middle of something or are feeling stressed, angry, or down will probably not yield the desired outcome.
- Is it worth my time and energy? There is a time when we need to question how important someone is in our lives. If someone continuously lets us down, cheats us, or has not been a nurturing and supportive partner or friend, perhaps it’s time to think about not having them in our lives.
Then, here are six different ways that we can work on ourselves every day in order to live a more authentic and empowering life:
- Trusting Our Inner Voice
It’s a difficult process and it definitely takes time, but if we start listening to and trusting our inner voice, we will begin to realize how important our truth is. We will learn that everyone has their own inner voice and that we all deserve the opportunity to reveal who we are.
- Questioning Our Fear
As the saying goes, “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself”. Feeling and experiencing fear is no walk in the park, but when we start to question it, it becomes less scary and intimidating. We might ask ourselves: is this really such a big deal? What’s the worst that could happen? And essentially, if we don’t ask or speak up, we will never be able to move past our fear.
- Knowing Our Value
Spend five to ten minutes a day writing and or reading affirmations that are uplifting and positive. You could write them down and read them out loud, or even say them to yourself in front of the mirror. For example:
- I am powerful
- I am successful
- I am worthy of love
- I am allowed to be my authentic self
- The world deserves to know who I really am
- Trusting Our Gut and Emotions
Deep down in the pit of our stomach, lies the answer to every question we may ever have. Our gut, our intuition, and our emotions are always honest, and it guides us towards being a better and more authentic person. Listening to our gut feeling and expressing our inner thoughts and emotions will ultimately set us free.
Too often, people get into heated arguments because they’re full of strong emotions, such as anger, heartache, or sadness. And while it’s important to feel those emotions and more, the best way for us to really speak our truth and to have our voice heard, is to rationalize our emotions and thoughts beforehand. That may entail taking a few days to think about, process, and decide how we really feel. After this, we’ll have a more level-head and will be able to convey our thoughts and emotions in a more comprehensive and constructive way.
- Get Support
While all of the above rituals are great ways to begin living an authentic life, sometimes we need a little extra guidance and support. Consulting a professional life coach, mentor or counselor during difficult times or when negativity and doubt prevails, having someone to talk to can be invaluable.
At the end of the day, being able to speak our truth in a thoughtful, reasonable, and rational way is the best kind of self-care. And while it may be impossible to control how others react or feel about our truth, we can always reveal ourselves in ways that are nurturing, and respectful.
We too can apologize for being responsible for someone else’s pain or sadness, but we should never apologize for speaking our truth. In short, when two people are open and honest, it can only lead to stronger, better, and more authentic relationships. So, be yourself, you deserve it!